For small businesses with limited resources, it's wiser to focus on the social channels where your audiences live instead of being on every platform. This article covers tips for locating your social media audience, identifying their habits and interests, and strategies that help you reach them more effectively.
Are you guilty of trying to do too much with too little? Most of us are. Too many errands, not enough time. Too many chores, not enough hands. Too many bills, not enough money. No matter the equation, the outcome is usually the same; failure. In a quest to be omnipresent, we oftentimes run ourselves to the point of exhaustion and end up accomplishing nothing.
The same can be true for social media. Just when you master one platform, a new one springs up in its place, followed by another, and another. In a frenzy to simply keep up, you find yourself piecing together last-minute content and splattering it across all the platforms with hopes that someone notices and that something sticks.
It’s a terrible strategy.
Does somebody have a social media hangover?
As a small business owner, if you try to be everywhere, you’ll end up with an empty bank account and a severe case of social media hangover. To get the most bang for your buck, you need to focus your social media strategy around locating, identifying, and reaching your audience in their natural habitat, you know, like finding the Beverly Hills 90210 crew at the Peach Pit.
Who is your ideal customer? Where is your crowd hanging out at? How can you break through the clutter to reach them?
Find your proverbial Peach Pit
Location is everything. But if you don’t know what, or in this case who, you’re looking for, you’ll never find them. By now you’ve likely heard the marketing term “target market” and have often wondered where to begin. Lucky for you, it’s less painful than you think.
Surveying your existing customer base is an easy way to figure out exactly what needs, pain points, sweet spots, etc. your product or service fulfills upon. You would be surprised by the amount of data you can get (for free!) from the people who know and use your product regularly. This, in turn, allows you to carve out your niche and pinpoint who your ideal customers are.
Pro tip: Sweeten the pot and get repeat business by offering survey-takers a discount on their next purchase.
Yea, it’s really that easy. Roll up your sleeves and dig into the billions of web pages full of free information that exist at your fingertips. Are there specific industry blogs that are favorites in your niche? Do they offer advertising or guest posting opportunities? Which social platforms does your customer demographic frequent (hint hint: this is where you’ll want to strike up conversations).
Observe your customers in their natural surroundings
If you own a local coffee shop, take note of your customer demographics and psychographics. The clothes they wear give you insight into their income (i.e. how much are they willing to spend on a mocha latte?). Are they married? Do they have children? How many are students vs. professionals? Pay attention to even the smallest of social cues and you just may gain incredible insight into a niche population of customers you had never thought of before.
Be in the right place at the right time
Now that you know who you’re looking for, you need to discover where you want to go. Is your product a relatively inexpensive consumer good, like children’s clothing? Facebook may be the place for you. Are you trying to start up a catering business? Pinterest is a staple for mothers coast to coast looking for new recipes to try out on their families. If you’re working on gaining membership for your trendy fitness studio, Instagram is full of millennials looking to try new things. The demographic data you get from surveying your customers will give you insight into which platforms are the best bet to start with while digging into the psychographic data will allow you to position your messaging appropriately.
Open up the toolkit
It all started with a kiss…or perhaps it was a Twitter follow, Instagram tag, or Facebook like. Whatever the method, sometimes just one touch is all it takes to convert a fan into a customer. But you have to break through the clutter in order to get your message heard. Social media platforms recognize this and offer many native tools to get you up and running quickly. With Instagram, hashtags are still king. They allow your posts to be easily found in searches (you can use up to 30 per post… use them!). Facebook offers the ability to create custom audiences and boost your posts daily to a wider audience. Promoted pins, Snap ads, Twitter ads, the opportunities are endless. Pick your platform, learn how to use the native tools given to you, set a daily budget, kick back, and let automation do the rest.
Define your target audience and get to know them. What do they like/dislike, where do they hang out? Know their hobbies, their values, and their lifestyles. Then take it a step further. Knowing where to be is equally as important as knowing who you are speaking to. Meet them where they are most comfortable spending their time. Keep the relationship casual and friendly (i.e. act like a human, not a machine). And just as you don’t hang out everywhere, neither do your customers. Choose wisely which social media platforms deserve your time, attention, and budget.
Kristi Eide studied marketing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a current Marketing Operations Architect at Infusionsoft. She has worked in the field of marketing automation for over six years. When she isn’t hiding behind her Macbook, she can be found in the gym, writing for her own blog, The (Sometimes) Single Mom, or chasing down her two little boys.